What are my rights if I’m renting an apartment and paying money to a real estate agency but the money goes to owner and didn’t pay his mortgage?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights if I’m renting an apartment and paying money to a real estate agency but the money goes to owner and didn’t pay his mortgage?

The owner of the property didn’t use the money the tenants correctly. He didn’t pay the mortgage so the bank sold the property in a sheriff’s sale. How much time do I have to move?

Asked on October 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The law gives some rights to a tenant in the event that their rental is foreclosed on. When a home goes into foreclosure, tenants who have a written lease can continue to occupy their home until the end of the lease, or 90 days, whichever is longer. The only exception would be if the new owner intends to move in and occupy the home as their primary residence, in which case a 90 day notice to move would apply. Tenants with a month-to-month lease or no lease at all, have to be given at least 90 days notice to move.
Regarding the return of your security deposit, when a property is foreclosed on there unfortunately there may not be much that a tenant can do. Typically, a tenant’s only legal recourse is to sue the landlord in small claims court. Although, even if you win a judgment, actually getting the money you're owed may be difficult.
Finally, sometimes an incentive kpwn as "cash for keys" can be negotiated between a new owner and a tenant so that the tenant agrees to move out prior to the end of their lease, or 90, which ever applies. The amount and timing of the payment is worked out between them.
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